The Virtue of Consistency
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Prophet of Allāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was asked about the most beloved good deed to Allāh, to which he replied, أَدْوَمُهُ وَإِنْ قَلَّ (That which is most regular and constant even if it is little in amount)” [Muslim].
Points of benefit
I. Consistency adds value. It elevates a deed even if it is small. The scholars would say, “A consistent deed—even if it is small—is better than a huge deed that is inconsistent.”
II. Consistency perpetuates reward. If an actor is prevented from completing a consistent deed due to a valid reason, he is rewarded as though he had completed the action. Allāh’s Messenger sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “If a person becomes sick or travels, he will have the same reward as when he was healthy or not travelling” [Bukhārī].
III. Consistency does not demand an actor exhaust and overburden himself. Bukhārī reports that Allāh’s Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “The religion is easy. No one makes the religion difficult except that it will overwhelm him. So engage in good deeds with moderation—without excess and neglect (saddidū) and come as close as you can to that (qāribū), and receive the glad tidings (that you will be rewarded for your consistency in deed even if the deed is small). And seek support (by worshipping Allāh) in the morning, afternoon and the last hours of the night.” In other words, spread the act of worship throughout the day so that it is manageable, sustainable and conducive to worship, and does not become overwhelming.
IV. The previous point ensures the energy and enthusiasm of the actor. The Prophet of Allāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Upon you is that which you have the ability to do. Allāh will never become bored (and will thus continue to reward you) until you yourself become bored (with doing good deeds). Verily, the most beloved deeds to Allāh is that which is the most consistent even in small amounts.” [Al-Nasā’ī]
V. Consistency becomes easier overtime and builds up to ihsān. Allāh jalla wa ‘alā said, “And those who persevere for Us ― We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allāh is with the muhsinīn.” [29:69]
VI. Consistency deepens Allāh’s love for the actor in addition to the action itself. The Messenger of Allāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “My slave does not draw nearer to Me with anything more beloved to Me than the farā’id (obligatory deeds) that I have imposed upon him. And My slave continues to draw close to Me with the nawāfil (voluntary deeds) until such that I love him. And when I love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. If he were to ask Me, I would give him. If he were to seek refuge with Me, I would give him refuge.” [Muslim]
VII. Consistency flourishes in times of ease. Tirmidhī reports that the Prophet sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Acquaint yourself to Allāh in times of ease, He will acquaint Himself with you in times of hardship.”
VIII. “Even if little in amount” is an encouragement for all to intend and practice consistency, thus securing its benefits.
Below is a listing of deeds to engage in consistently. We beg Allāh for his support and acceptance. Āmīn.
1. Recite the Qur’ān under the tutelage of a teacher.
2. Observe the sunnah prayers in the home.
3. Preserve the awrād/azkār (remembrance and supplications) of the morning and evening.
4. Pray the night prayers (qiyāmul-layl) even if it is only two units. Encourage spouse/family to observe it.
5. Fast Mondays, Thursdays and 13th―15th of every Islāmic month.
6. Acquire beneficial knowledge and skills. This includes the guidance of a mentor (murabbin or mu’addib). Particular emphasis is placed on acquiring goals at personal, family and societal levels.
7. Spend on others even if it is little (sadaqah).
8. Establish youth/family centres and services thus facilitating a family’s comprehensive upbringing and development.
9. Set up waqf businesses (sadaqāt). Fund and sustain the local ummah’s infrastructure—its institutions and services.
10. Create centres providing training in education, development and skills.
11. Repel harm and attain benefit for the community through purpose-built institutions based on priority and pragmatism, with the long view and broad view in mind.
“And worship your Lord until there comes to you the certainty (death)” [15:99].
والحمد لله رب العالمين
وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد